Tennis journo Steve Tignor made his way to Indian Wells this week to cover the Pacific Life Open for his TENNIS.com column, Concrete Elbow. In his usually self-deprecating way, Tignor provides interesting, and sometimes hilarious, insights on our fave tennis ballers and the fans who love them:
On watching the Frenchies on the soccer field:
"Watching [Arnaud] Clement’s fast feet, it’s clear that a soccer background has its advantages for tennis players, especially on clay. I’ve always thought basketball, with its jab steps, quick turns, and ready positions on defense, was the ideal preparation, but it doesn’t teach you to create with your feet the way soccer does."
On Ana Ivanovic:
"[...] she struggles with the low forehand. Something about her grip or swing doesn’t let her get under it easily, and she sends a lot of balls flat and long. This looks like something that will always trouble her."
On fans watching Rafa practice with Tommy Haas:
"There’s a genius in every crowd at these practice sessions, and he happens to be near me. He confidently tells a friend, “You see how they never hit the sweet spot? That’s what I mean, it’s hard to hit the sweet spot.” I walk away trying to imagine how good Rafael Nadal and Tommy Haas would be if they could actually figure out how to hit the sweet spot!"
On our theme for the day - uninspired tennis sponsorships:
"My colleague Tom Tebbutt, the tennis writer of Canada, who's sitting with me, says that when [players walk on the court in matching outfits] the player with the lower ranking should change his shirt. Not a bad suggestion."
"Does Daniela Hantuchova aggravate you with her inevitable, and seemingly so preventable, meltdowns? Go watch her in doubles—like Anna Kournikova, her natural tennis skill, her tennis IQ as they say, is allowed full play, with none of that pesky anxiety to drag her down."
On Federer's fashion of the day:
"His outfit consists of a grey T-shirt—and his tuxedo pants [from Wimbledon.] They look completely out of place here; maybe he was out of laundry. Or who knows, maybe he wasn’t sure we would recognize him without them."
On how a tennis-loving mom speaks about her shy child:
"A woman near me scolds her child for standing at the back of the autograph line for Nadal, then says to her husband: “He’s never going to get anywhere in the world being shy.” (I want to say he could become a tennis journalist, but then begin to wonder if that would prove her point.) "
What about being a tennis blogger? No worries - I've already prepared myself for getting nowhere doing this stuff...and I like it!
(image via tennis.com)